The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cops count on key quintet

The girl and her friend may have disappeared on their motorcycle, but five other persons taking a stroll after late-night parties witnessed sergeant Bapi Sen being beaten to death by five constables late on New Year’s eve.

They have corroborated other reports on the incident and stated how the constables were teasing the girl on the motorcycle and how Bapi Sen was brutally beaten up for trying to stop them. Deputy commissioner (detective department) Soumen Mitra said on Tuesday: “Our officers have recorded their statements. The witnesses, whom we don’t want to identify for reasons of investigation, have clearly mentioned that the constables had battered Bapi.’’

Mitra said that after this development, the girl and her companion are no longer “indispensable” as prosecution witnesses, as investigators have gathered substantial evidence to establish the murder charge against the five constables. “The incident of eve-teasing led to Bapi’s murder. We are more interested in clamping murder charges against the constables,’’ Mitra added.

Detectives said of the five witnesses, two were local youths returning from a New Year’s eve party. “Three other persons also witnessed the incident. They are between 30 and 40 years old and were taking a stroll after a party at a friend’s place,” a senior detective said. Earlier, the driver of the taxi in which the constables were travelling had narrated the incident to the police.

Apart from the five witnesses, who the police termed “key’’, there are two other footpath-dwellers and a beggar who also saw the constables assaulting Bapi. Detectives said the five witnesses told the police that they were “so stunned” that they did not intervene when the constables were beating up Bapi.

The sergeant was in a car with four friends when he noticed the constables in a taxi, teasing the girl riding pillion on a motorcycle and pulling her hair. When Bapi intervened, the friends sat in the car and only rushed out when Bapi collapsed on the tram tracks on Nirmal Chandra Street. They took him to Medical College and Hospital, and from there to CMRI, where Bapi died on January 6.

City detective chief Mitra said there was no news about the mysterious girl and her companion till Tuesday evening. “We will be happy if the girl and her companion surface, but it’s okay even if they decide not to,’’ Mitra said. He also discounted reports that police would “withhold the identities’’ of the girl and her companion if they decide to surface. “We need her to identify the the five constables and testify in court. The incident revolved around her. How can we suppress her identity'” demanded Mitra.

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